Grassroots the benefactor from United visit

Football West say the chance for young football fans to see stars like Paul Pogba in their own backyard will boost the game at grassroots level. Photo: Getty
Football West say the chance for young football fans to see stars like Paul Pogba in their own backyard will boost the game at grassroots level. Photo: Getty

FOOTBALL West chief executive James Curtis says the arrival of Manchester United and Leeds United will provide a boost to an already blooming local game.

Manchester United are set to play two marquee friendlies at Optus Stadium, taking on Perth Glory this Saturday, before entertaining rivals Leeds on Wednesday.

Curtis said game was flourishing at grassroots level in WA and the arrival of two of England’s biggest names, off the back of Chelsea’s visit last year, was another step in the right direction.

“Following the success of Chelsea last year and the success of Perth Glory in the A-League, having the superstars of Manchester United and Leeds has got the football community buzzing,” he said.

“We’re going to see a lot more kids buying the kit, getting involved and I’ve got no doubt at all we’ll see a spike in participation.”

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Curtis said kids being able to see some of the world’s biggest names in the flesh was an incredible opportunity to grow the game at grassroots level.

“That connection for a child when they’re on the sidelines and seeing those great teams and players does give them a lift and creates dreams,” he said.

“It connects every kid and grassroots player, to see what they do every weekend is being played at the top level, and they’ve got a chance to be part of the dream that is football.”

Football West is keen to ensure this trickle-down effect is sustainable and grassroots can continue to reap the rewards of touring football sides, while it is also working towards inclusion in Football Federation Australia’s bid for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.

“The key thing for us is we need to have the supporting football facilities to attract the likes of these football sides, but it is about making sure it contributes to the broader economy,” Curtis said.

“We certainly welcome the investment from the State Government to attract Manchester United, Chelsea and Leeds, but we do want to make sure that dividend makes it to grassroots football.”

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